Let the Singers Sing – Let the Quilters Quilt

Last year my daughter Laura and I were at a craft boutique, “I wish I was crafty” she said as we walked up and down the aisle of beautiful, creative, crafts. “Laura, let the singers sing. Let the dancers dance, and let the crafters craft. We can’t be great at everything. That would just be unfair.” We shared a laugh because she is a dancer and a singer. I am a singer and a song-writer and I don’t think either one of us would really be willing to trade our current talents for some other ones, even for crafty ones.

But, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I was a stay-at-home mom with a toddler and an infant, and I was CRAFTY! I know, you can’t believe it can you? I was a scrapbooker and even before that, I was a quilter!

Fabric is a great medium and when I chose to make one of my very first quilts I went with a motto that seems to come up often in my life as I embark on brand new adventures- “Go Big or Go Home.” (sort of like when I decided to run a marathon as my first race)

My first quilt was a king-sized, tumbling block design and I didn’t know enough about sewing or quilting to actually work smarter, not harder– meaning I sewed EACH piece together (those of you who sew, know to sew in strips when you can and you are cringing on my behalf, aren’t you) Here is my very first quilt, made in 1996 when I was expecting Leah.

Don’t get too impressed. It’s still NOT finished. It’s only the top, and I am just about ready to hire someone to create a back and finish the thing for me because it is 15+ years-old now. (Any takers?)

Perhaps I bit off more than I could chew? Perhaps??? Realizing that, I moved on to smaller things… Baby quilts! I completed a whopping three baby quilts before I took my own advice and I let the Quilters quilt.

In 2008 I had an idea. When I went to Ghana, Africa the second time I purchased fabric while I was there and when I came home I made three baby quilts. These three quilts are actually finished (gasp) and are NOW available for your bidding pleasure on ebay. All funds will go to The Signing Time Foundation for our upcoming trip to Ghana, so go bid wildly. Just click on the quilt you want and you’ll go to straight the eBay auction! These auctions end on January 12th and we leave for Ghana on January 13th.

Yes, these really are handcrafted by me, Rachel Coleman. Talk about limited edition, I’ve now made six baby quilts and one giant unfinished quilt in my entire illustrious quilting career. What a career! Happy bidding~

There are only 11 days left before we take off to Africa, if quilts aren’t your thing you can still “join our party” by making a tax-deductible donation to The Signing Time Foundation. You can also chip-in here: (If you don’t see the chip-in widget, just hit refresh)

Or if you are weary of on-line donations you can always pop a check in the mail:
The Signing Time Foundation
c/o Ghana 2012
870 East 7145 South
Midvale, Utah 84047

I know that going third world is not for everyone, so how about we let the travelers travel and the givers can give.
~Rachel Coleman

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About Rachel Coleman

The opinions and late night musings published on this blog are Rachel de Azevedo Coleman's alone, and are not ever intended to represent the opinions and sentiments of any organization or product that Rachel is, was, or will be associated with. Rachel Coleman is the creator and Emmy-nominated host of Signing Time!, the children's American Sign Language vocabulary building series. She is also the creator and host of Baby Signing Time, Rachel & the TreeSchoolers, and Rachel & Me. Rachel now serves as the Executive Director of the American Society for Deaf Children, a 501c3 nonprofit established in 1967 by parents of deaf children. ASDC is the American Sign Language organization for families who are raising deaf children. www.deafchildren.org Motivated by her child, Leah's deafness, Rachel has spent the last 18 years creating ASL products to help bridge the communication barrier between hearing and signing communities. In 2006 Rachel founded the Signing Time Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to putting communication in the hands of all children of all abilities. In 2014, the Signing Time Foundation launched a 50-Lesson online ASL curriculum called "Sign It: ASL Made Easy" that is available free-of-charge to families with deaf or hard of hearing children ages 36 months and under. Apply at www.mydeafchild.org. For those who do not qualify to receive Sign It ASL for free, they can find it for purchase at very reasonable rates on www.SignItASL.com. Rachel and her husband, Aaron, live in Salt Lake City Utah. They are parents to Leah who was born profoundly deaf, and is now a senior in college at NTID/RIT in Rochester, NY. They are also parents to Lucy who has spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and recently graduated high school. In 2010 the Colemans were joyfully reunited with Rachel's daughter Laura. Rachel is proud to be Laura's birth mom. Laura was placed for adoption as an infant in 1992 when Rachel was 17 years-old.

10 thoughts on “Let the Singers Sing – Let the Quilters Quilt

  1. Beautiful quilts! My sisters are quilters and I can definitely appreciate the true labor of love each piece displays. Wishing you safe travels and wonderful experiences in Ghana. I’ve got my limited edition Signing Time pins on the way. It *does* feel good to support something you believe in.

  2. Rachel, it is a beautiful quilt and and while I think you could have, the blocks quilt isn’t one that is often strip pieced. I’d offer my services to quilt it, but I think you can likely find someone locally and I haven’t done any mail order yet. Just ask to see their work (in person) to make sure that they will do all you hard work justice and turn it into the finished work of art that it deserves.

  3. Just after I graduated college and got married I felt the need to quilt. I began an amazing hand pieced applique wall hanging that it took me almost 10years to finish (lots of stopping and starting and reworking). Who knew even small quilts could be so time consuming. I ached to hand quilt the top with the batting/backing but a few years later I chose to pay for a lovely quilt shop in Ohio to machine quilt the piece. Now it is hanging on my wall and I love it! I feel no regret at not quilting it myself and only joy at seeing my work of art displayed for me to enjoy. Thanks for sharing your story and God Bless you on your trip to Ghana!

  4. Rachel, your quilt top is amazing–just like you! You never cease to amaze me. Quilting is something I have thought about trying but have to just let the quilters quilt for now since I may just be too old to learn new tricks. Ordered a limited edition Signing Time pin a few days ago and can hardly wait for it to arrive. Hope you and everyone who is going have a wonderful, exciting, rewarding, safe trip to Ghana and back.

  5. My 3 1/2 year old granddaughter and I watch Signing Time on our local PBS station. It is fun to watch her make the signs. I have to make sure I watch with her so I know what she is saying. She can speak, but seems to enjoy learning the signs. I wish I could help you with your trip to Ghana but have been out of work for 3 years. Now I watch my granddaughter until I can find a job again. Good luck on your trip. You do such wonderful work. Your children are blessed!

  6. Hi, Rachel.
    First I must tell you that you and your family are my family’s heroes.
    We became interested in signing because my three year old daughter has special needs and cannot communicate with us properly. Her therapists have introduced her to simple signs like up, more, play, again, give me, finished, etc. She lapped them up like a thirsty puppy!
    We wanted to expand her signing knowledge and that’s how we stumbled upon your DVDs. My daughter and I (and my neurotypical sons, ages 5 and 7) really enjoy them. My daughter needs more time to catch on, but my sons are signing full sentences to me, and it’s only been two weeks since we started! (My five year old even had a dream that you were making a show down the block from us and that we were the first ones to come. :))

    We thought you were amazing as it is, before we found out that Leah is your daughter and that you started all this so that her friends could talk to her. That warmed my heart. Then I saw a piece about your travels to Ghana on one of your DVDs, and it moved me to tears to see the gift of communication being bestowed upon people who never imagined something so ordinary would ever be possible for them.

    Just yesterday I discovered this blog and read some of your posts, and wow. I didn’t think it was possible to respect you any more than I already did, but I do. I didn’t know that adorable little girl who appears in so many of the videos is your daughter, Lucy. It’s amazing how Leah’s struggles were able to help her little sister before she was even born. In Hebrew there is a phrase, G-d prepares the cure before the affliction. As you said, Leah having been born before Lucy was a great blessing.

    I can’t even begin to tell you how much respect I have for you. You have taken what for other families would have been a stumbling block and turned it into a stepping stone. It is my dream to someday be able to lift up my daughter’s disabilities and turn them into something amazing.
    Rachel, you and your family have literally changed the WORLD. How many people could say that?

    • Thank you for your very kind words, I needed them today. I clicked through and visited your blog as well and was fascinated! I am glad that you found Signing Time and hope it has served you all well. I’m not sure that I am “hero worthy” by any standard, just doing the best I can with what I’ve got and trying to inspire others to see the beauty in life, every single life. I loved the dream that we were filming near you. I travel quite a bit doing live performances, you can sign up for our e-newsletter on www.signingtime.com and choose to get a notification if and when I am speaking or performing near you. I’d love to meet you and your family.

  7. Hi Rachel, Many of the local churches in our area have a quiler’s group that will do the hand quilting for a fee or donation. My mom had all my female relatives each sew a block that she assembled into a quilt top and then worked with her church’s quilting group to hand quilt. I was about 7 when it was finally finished. Tumbling blocks is a challenging pattern to construct, your quilt looks beautiful.

    I enjoy reading your blog and find it and you very inspiring.

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